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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Lifting the designation as "radioactive" waste?

June 29, 2016

Chiba wants radioactive designation lifted from Fukushima-contaminated waste



CHIBA – The Chiba Municipal Government on Tuesday filed for Environment Ministry approval to lift the designation as radioactive for waste stored in the city that was contaminated by the Fukushima reactor meltdowns five years ago.

This marked the first application in Japan seeking to lift the radioactive designation for waste tainted by the 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant.

The move came after the city found that levels of radioactive materials in the designated waste are lower than the national designation standards of over 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

At present, designated radioactive waste generated by the nuclear disaster is stored in 12 prefectures in eastern Japan, including Tokyo.

The ministry plans to judge whether to lift the designation for waste in Chiba in about one month.

In Chiba, 7.7 tons of designated waste is currently stored at a waste disposal center.

The lifting of the designation will allow the city to dispose of the waste the same way as general waste, but the city plans to continue storing the waste for the time being.

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June 7, 2016

Govt. sets criteria for recycling Fukushima waste


The Environment Ministry has worked out a plan to recycle waste from the decontamination of areas affected by fallout from the Fukushima nuclear accident. The plan calls for using such waste as construction materials after radiation levels drop low enough.

The ministry adopted the draft plan at a meeting of experts in Tokyo on Tuesday. The draft is designed to help implement a government plan to transfer contaminated soil and other waste in Fukushima Prefecture to intermediate storage facilities, with its final disposal to be made outside Fukushima within 30 years.

The draft plan calls for using such waste to build roads, railways, seawalls and waste storage facilities. It says the radiation levels must be below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.
To avoid leakage or radiation exposure, the plan requires the waste to be covered with soil or concrete that is at least 10 centimeters to more than 1 meter thick.

Conventional rules say waste from nuclear facilities can be recycled if the radiation level is 100 becquerels or lower. The ministry now says waste with higher radiation levels is usable only for public works that can be strictly managed.

The State Minister for the Environment, Shinji Inoue, says recycling of radioactive waste is different from final disposal. He said he will make efforts to help people understand the safety of recycling and push for such recycling nationwide, not just in and around Fukushima.

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